Some of you may not be aware of my previous athletic career and what I'm all about, so here's a little background on how I got to be where I am now:
My Mom playing in the waves with my sister Kelly and I. Nice floaties!
My Dad and I at Imperial Palace in Japan for the Emperor's birthday. I stood out a bit...
My Mom, "Hot Kathy". She still looks this good, so I'd better age as well as she has!
My favorite old horse Incento and I after winning one of our championships together. He was one of the most renowned Grand Prix horses before he became my baby. I miss this guy so much, it hurts!
Well, here goes...
I was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan and moved to San Diego, California during my childhood. This was a tough move for me because Japanese was my first language and I also spoke some German and American Sign Language. When I was improving my English in school, my teachers were mostly British, so I developed a bit of an accent that has gone away, but I still talk kind of "funny" sometimes since I'm a California girl with that background. My father was born and raised in Tokyo as well, and my Mom was a big model in the 70's and early 80's, which is how they were brought together. Though my parents are no longer together, I feel that it is important to give a bit of a background on my family so that you can get a better understanding of how I got into the Entertainment industry and athletics.
As a blonde-haired, blue-eyed American girl from Wisconsin, the Japanese loved my mother and she did very well in her career until quitting after I was born. She was actually the first aerobics instructor in Japan - ever! My father was a basketball and volleyball star all the way through college and didn't come to the states until attending USC (University of Southern California) along with six out of seven of his siblings. He was about to be drafted into the NBA when he tore his achilles tendon, but that didn't slow him down. My father got involved in triathlons and even competed in an Iron Man in Saipan when I was a child - what an athlete!
I have a younger sister who is two years my junior and my best friend in the entire world. We have both grown to appreciate Japan and it's culture even more every time we go back to visit, and miss it very much. My father started a chain of gyms in San Diego called 'Frog's', which later on expanded to become 'Frog's Club One' when he moved on. I followed in his footsteps and started going to the gym and getting involve with sports at a very young age. I played softball, basketball, track and field, and was one of the top equestrians in the United States before age eighteen. I was privately schooled during the last two years of high school and didn't have much of a social life going into college since I was traveling to horse shows all the time, but it was so worth it! Horses have always been a big part of my life, and it breaks my heart that I had to part with the sport professionally. Check out my Dad's company 'Life Gear' http://lifegear.com.
I have always had a very deep connection with animals and volunteered at Helen Woodward Animal Center and worked at their summer camp teaching children how to interact with animals safely as well as assisting the handicapped. Volunteer work is something that I am very passionate about, and hope to do more work here in New York now that I'm an "East Coast Girl". I've been involved with Kids Korps USA, a family friend's charity that works one-on-one with underprivileged children for many years, and was also in National Charity League, an organization for young women that enabled us to work with teen mothers, the homeless, disabled children, etc. I graduated from NCL along with the rest of my group right before my Debutante Ball, and those experiences were extremely fulfilling.
That's right, I was a Debutante in San Diego, which known to be more common in the South an Europe. My past experience in five years of cotillion sure helped me get through the ballroom dancing at the end, that's for sure! Alright, my ADHD is kicking in and I ought to stay on subject here! Once I graduated form NCL, The La Jolla Debutante Committee and High School, I began college at the USD (University of San Diego). Though I had been accepted into USC, I wanted to wait a year to attend a smaller school first (hence the ADHD). I don't want to get into it, but I was in a very destructive relationship and made some poor choices that basically ruined that entire first year of college for me. I was quite the rebellious "bad girl" growing up, but this was much worse, so I made it a priority to change my life for the better.
I moved to Los Angeles a year later to finally transfer into USC and well, that didn't go as planned, because I caught the acting and modeling bug and dropped out of school altogether. I have no regrets, enrolling in intense theater classes and performing improv did wonders for me, because I went from being the shy tree in the background in the school plays to taking the stage with confidence. I was always a great public speaker growing up, but being completely vulnerable in front of an audience is a completely different experience. I was continuously told that I was going to be "the next so-and-so", even Carol Burnett told me that I was very funny and would "make it", but I just wasn't ready! Besides some previous work here and there, I was officially "discovered" by a renowned Guess and Vogue photographer in Los Angeles who believed that I had a chance in modeling. Once I shot with her and was sent to the agency of her choice, they didn't know what to do with me because there were just "too many blondes in LA" and I don't look good with dark hair. I'm about 5'11" and was often considered "too voluptuous for runway" unless it was for swimsuit or lingerie, and amidst being so tall and lanky, my measurements aren't easy to fit! I knew that I could have just gone to a different city like Miami and pursued a commercial and swimsuit career, but I had stopped taking modeling seriously during that time and needed to do some soul-searching.
My friend Niki Ghazian had played in the original Lingerie Football League's 'Lingerie Bowl' when it was a Super Bowl half-time show on Pay-per-view, and suggested that I train with her to try out for the real league. The LFL had decided to change its direction and created a National league that consisted of models who were also required to be real athletes and could play full-tackle football. Crazy, right? You bet it was! I learned how to play full-tackle football within a couple of months and somehow beat over a hundred girls to make a spot on the number one team of about fourteen players! Being a part of the Los Angeles Temptation was a wonderful experience, though it had quite a bit of drama, which is expected when you have a large group of girls hitting each other on the field all the time while being controlled by an organization with little experience.
I've always been very against violence and can't even watch fight scenes in movies, so being able to legally smash people in football took some time to learn. Whenever I had to hit someone in practice or a game, I'd apologize afterwards because I felt bad for hurting them. I ended up getting bored playing Right Guard, because using my height to block wasn't enough for me, so I moved onto my favorite position: Defensive End - the killing machine! Everyone has that "Inner Rocky", but most of us keep it hidden, especially young ladies like myself. During tryouts, I was told to think of something that really irritated me, and I ended up blacking out like a boxer and taking down not only the tackle bag, but the male football player holding it! I'm glad that this has only ever happened on a football field, because I am known by friends as being a "control freak" (of myself) and would rather talk than fight any day.
I'm grateful to have been able to represent my team and the league by doing interviews with Fox Sports Radio, Sports Central and several online publications. My team as well as the San Diego Seduction even did an episode of C.S.I. New York because they couldn't find any stunt actors to play football as well as we could! I was very thankful to have been a part of those shows, because many were not aware of how seriously we took the sport since we appeared to be "just a bunch of hot women". Our practices usually lasted over four hours and we were in ridiculous shape, which was my favorite part...until I got a little too buff for my liking. The military style of training was absolutely incredible, and not only was I practicing with the team, but I was spending all of my free time doing CrossFit with our team's amazing personal trainer, Max Shippee of CrossFit Thrive.
Since we had to look hot in our uniforms, we were required to always look our best, girls who weren't up-to-par by game day got a "fat letter" and were benched until they appeared more lean and toned. Luckily, I never had to worry about that, but I felt terrible for the girls who had busted their butts to lose weight to play in the league in the first place. As far as games went, it got extremely dangerous and there were many injuries that you'd usually expect in the NFL, but we got through it with very little clothing and protective gear. The most minor injury for our league was when a Dallas player's teeth got knocked out with her mouth guard - yikes! I had my dentist make me a custom mouth guard after that, because I went through braces for these pearly whites and wouldn't lose them for anything! Once my team won the 'Lingerie Bowl' for the 2009/2010 season, I decided that the time had come for me to leave the LFL and move on with my life. I'm not bitter about all of the drama that occurred during that time and would rather not talk about it, because it was an unforgettable experience that I'm very lucky to have been a part of. Once that period of my life had come to a close, I was involved in other fields of work until moving to Manhattan, New York. I'd been coming to New York all my life and my sister went to NYU (New York University), so I was already quite familiar with the city, but hadn't experienced the brutal winter yet!
Last winter did me in, I never worked out and though I had learned so much about my body and finally accepted my food allergies, I was extremely depressed and going through tough times. My emotional eating went into overdrive, and though I only went up one size than "my best", I still felt like crap and wanted to make some serious lifestyle changes. I'm sure you were all aware that New York received the most blizzards in over a hundred years last winter and we got snowed-in, right? It was rough! I've always been very passionate about health and fitness, so I decided to kiss a Real Estate career that was practically handed to me goodbye and go with my gut. I'm currently attending one of the best nutrition schools in the world and having a blast learning as much as I can about health and wellness.
I'm glad that I made the right decision, because this is motivating me to get myself back to looking and feeling "my best" again. I hope that you will enjoy my journey as I build my business and continue to read my posts, and I sincerely appreciate the support that I have received so far!
Here are some links from the LFL:
I copied and pasted JerseyChaser.com's post on yours truly:
Posted by BROSEFOLOPHOGUS on
December 16, 2009
At damn near 6-feet tall Niki Connor of Lingerie Football’s L.A. Temptation is what we like to call a thoroughbred. Connor is so dime that it might be a crime, but don’t be fooled by her amazing looks (which AREN’T artificially enhanced), because she is a beast on the gridiron. The Temptation have one game left on the schedule, a matchup with the San Diego Seduction on January 29 at the LA Sports Arena, so if you’re in the Greater Los Angeles area around then you should definitely see what’s cracking. As for Niki, make sure you follow her on Twitter as she will consistently brighten your day.
A few more pics that will get you from 6 to Noon in a hurry after the jump…
Supporting the LA Clippers:
The commercial for our C.S.I. NY episode:
This was my first time being interviewed on LIVE TV, and its obvious that I was very nervous, because I was pretty embarrassing! I don't understand why the league had us wear eye black for a TV interview, but go ahead and make fun of us:
TMZ. I'm on the far left refusing to speak because they were obviously making fun of us:
"Media Day" at the Los Angeles Coliseum: